Sunday, October 2, 2011

Ina Garten's Beef Stew

It's soup weather, yes! I got ahead of myself last week and made the Barefoot Contessa's beef stew - she calls it Parker's Beef Stew. It is amazing. Very peppery. Any man in your life will love it. Josh said it was the best thing I'd ever made, except desserts. That's an endorsement. And it makes a ton, so have some freezer bags available unless you are having a football party at your house. I ended up having to throw a lot of this out because I forgot to freeze in time...or didn't have time to put it in freezer bags...or had a long week...anyway, it made me sick to throw it out!

You'll need:
  • 2.5 lbs of chuck beef, cut into 1.5 inch cubs
  • 1 bottle of good red wine
  • 3 whole garlic cloves, smashed
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, cut into 1 inch cubes (I always use Vidalia onions - they are real onions in my eyes!)
  • 1 lb carrots, cut into 1.5 inch chunks (Ina says to peel them, but if you wash them really well, I don't think there is any need)
  • 1/2 lb white mushrooms, stems discarded and cut in half
  • 1 lb small potatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 large branch of fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1-10 ounce package frozen peas

1. Place the beef in a bowl.
2. Add red wine, garlic & bay leaves. Place in the refrigerator & marinate overnight.

The next day, preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

3. Combine the flour, 1 T salt & 1 T pepper in a bowl.
4. Life the beef out of the marinade with a slotted spoon, discard the bay leaves and garlic. Save that marinade!
5. In batches, dredge the cubes of beef in the flour mixture. 
6. Shake off excess.

Heat 2 T olive oil in a large pot.

7. Brown half the beef over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Place the browned beef in a large oven proof Dutch oven. Brown the other half (add more oil if need be) and place all in the Dutch oven.

Heat another 2 T of oil to the large pot.

8. Add the onions, carrots, mushrooms & potatoes. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic & cook for 2 more minutes.

Remove vegetables from the pot on the stove and place them in the Dutch oven over the beef.

9. Add 2.5 cups of the reserved marinade to the empty pot on the stove & cook over high heat to deglaze the bottom of the pan. All of those brown bits are good!! Add the chicken stock, rosemary, sun-dried tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, 1 T salt & 2 t pepper.

10. Pour the sauce over the meat and veggies in the Dutch oven. Bring to a simmer over medium heat on top of the stove. 

Cover the pot and place in 300 degree oven. Bake for about 2 hours. Stir once during cooking. I ended up turning the heat down to 275 about an hour in because it was bubbling a little too much. Before serving, stir in the frozen up!

Recipe format question: Do you like this format (numbered) or pictures inserted throughout the process? In theory, I liked this idea but I think the pictures throughout may be easier to follow. Thoughts?


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